After breaking out of a losing streak last weekend, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats kept on winning this weekend, defeating the Nelson Leafs and Kimberley Dynamiters before losing 5-4 in overtime to the Fernie Ghostriders.
The five points helped the Thunder Cats remain in second place in the Eddie Mountain Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, their 30 points eight behind the Dynamiters’ 38, and six ahead of the Ghostriders and Columbia Valley Rockies, tied for third with 24.
The Thunder Cats started the scoring in Friday’s 5-1 victory over the Leafs with first-period goals by Jayden Smith, Alec Wilkinson and Carson Cartwright. Sebastian Kilcommons scored a second-period goal and Jackson Bruce-Fuoco scored on a third-period power play before Nelson responded with a single goal with 4:10 remaining in the game.
“Overall, it was a complete effort,” said head coach Jeff Dubois.
He credited the efforts of goalie Brock Lefebvre, who blocked 32 Nelson shots, and the line of Wilkinson, Cartwright and Logan Styler.
“They combined for eight points between the three of them,” he said.
Saturday’s game was the second time the Thunder Cats had played against Kimberley this season, the first time resulting in a 4-0 loss. This time, they started with goals by Tyler Severson, Jayden Smith and James Severs (power play) before Kimberley responded at 5:49 in the first period. Dylan Hogue followed that with another Creston goal. After a Dynamiters goal in the second period, Hogue scored again.
The line of Hogue, Liam Plunkett and Nicholas Kovacik “had probably their best game of the season,” with Kovacik and Plunkett each getting two assists.
“They were tasked with playing against Kimberley’s top line,” said Dubois. “To not only do a good job defensively, but also give us a couple of real momentum-turning goals, it was real good performance from those three.”
The Doug Birks Division-leading Kamloops Storm visited Sunday, and “they really took it to us the first five or so minutes of the game,” said Dubois.
Kamloops scored early, with goals by Cartwright and Jake Livingstone following, and an unassisted goal by Hogue in the second period giving the Thunder Cats a 3-1 lead. Third-period play was back and forth, with a Kamloops goal, then a Creston goal by Plunkett and two goals by the Storm tying the score 4-4. Kamloops won the game by scoring on a breakaway in double overtime.
Dubois again cited Lefebvre as a key player, blocking 39 Storm shots.
“There were points where he definitely held us in there,” he said.
This weekend, the Thunder Cats host the Sicamous Eagles, on Friday, then visit the Golden Rockets on Sunday. The Rockets are at the bottom of the Eddie Mountain Division with five points.
“They were in a long losing streak last time we saw them, and they just got their first win of season this weekend,” said Dubiois.